Michael Otey's Blog

NEC Express5800/R320a Fault Tolerant Server

Another very interesting product I saw at VMworld was NECs Express5800/R320a server. This server is particularly well suited to mission critical workloads like virtualization and database serving because it offers in-the-box fault tolerance. NEC’s server line of products aren’t well known in the US but they are in widely used in Japan. In addition, NEC manufactures systems for other companies including Stratus and Unisys.

The Express5800’s unique architecture provides two completely separate motherboard, CPU and RAM platforms within the same server chassis. The dual motherboards have complete electrical isolation. The CPU and and RAM of each motherboard are keep in complete lockstep. If there is a failure the backup CPU takes over with no interruption at all. Unlike some other fault tolerant solutions the NEC Express5800 is highly scalable. There 12 sockets and support for  up to 96GB of RAM per motherboard.

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